Bay Island Seafood House
Another Southwest Baltimore seafood institution is Bay Island Crab House at Monroe and W. Pratt Street. Many of us have bought crabs there at one time or another and several people from the area have worked there. If you happened to have a friend working there, you could go up with a few dollars, by a dozen of $5 crabs and leave with a couple of dozen $10 crabs and a couple of six packs to boot.
Bay Island was not the kind of place where you would get top of the line crabs, but they were cheap and for the most part they catered to poor working class families. Even now, you’ll see a lot of people going in there, buying a few dozen of the cheapest and smallest crabs that you can find, what we use to call ‘spider crabs’, so small that if you hit them too hard with a mallet, the shell and the crabs would disintegrate before your very eyes. Bay Island also sold a lot of other seafood specialties in its store up front. Today, it is just a shell of what it was, as it only occupies the rear of the building. Several other crab houses have sprung up around it, but Bay Island is the original and the one that most of us can relate to when we think of crabs, and crab houses back then.